wings and things

Nursing home thoughts 1

on November 16, 2016


One of the things that I most appreciate about the nursing home where Anthony lives is the friendly kindness that so many of the staff extend to me. As I am there so much, I sometimes wonder if my presence may be inconvenient, i.e. when staff need to get Anthony ready for bed. The earlier this happens the better, I imagine, because, as each day wanes, so does Anthony’s mobility, cognition and emotional equilibrium. He can be very stiff and resistant – even when I take a jumper on or off him. Perhaps he even gets feisty but I am confident that the carers know that this is due to the confusion of dementia, and the fear – sometimes terror – that often accompanies “sundowning”.

I don’t know if the hoist still scares the hell out of him but I think it probably does and it is difficult for me not to worry. After all, he once mistook the hoist for a pirate ship and the carers for kidnappers. He still says things like:

Those kids – little bastards – attacked me again, but I fought them off.

So I say things like:

My hero!

Another thing that I appreciate about so many of the staff at the nursing home is humour. One of the carers has a kind of boppy, out-of-left-field humour. She is as quick-witted as she is quick-footed (she always seems to be running) and she can banter with Anthony, nose to nose, until he says “BOO!”

No nursing home is perfect, just as no life is perfect, and, over the nearly five years Anthony has been a resident I have only felt the need to ‘make a fuss’ a couple of times. I think that is pretty good innings actually.

The empathy expressed by so many staff to me (not necessarily in words, often in the curl of a hug, or in the blink of a wink, or in the form of the single smile exchanged in the space of my ordinary day), is my sustenance. Beautiful.

This 80-year-old demented, decrepit, frail, frowning, bony, silent, sleepy, blank-faced man (as I am sure he is often perceived) is still the love of my life.

For those funny, caring, beautiful staff, I cannot thank you enough!


8 responses to “Nursing home thoughts 1

  1. susanpoozan says:

    So happy to read that the staff give you so much support, it must help a bit.

  2. Vicki says:

    You and Anthony are so lucky to have such wonderful carers, especially on those difficult days when Anthony is so confused.

    Genuine Compassion is a rare quality.

    I have heard many tales of the opposite (from my now deceased Mother who worked in several nursing homes over her later working life as the cook/chef. My Mother felt so sad at their treatment, so went out of her way to stop for a chat to some of the residents and bring a little cheer to the neglected residents).

  3. tlohuis says:

    It’s always nice to hear the good in something, anything. Nursing Homes often get a bad rap. They are not all bad. Many are, though. But, we never hear all the good in this world. The media only focuses on bad, horrifying news. I’m a nurse, and at one time I worked in a Nursing Home. I worked on the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Unit. I absolutely loved working with the elderly. The residence appreciate the smallest gesture. Could be a smile, a hug, actually making time to talk to the resident/patient for more than 5 minutes, to just show them that you care, even when there memory is greatly impaired. It still matters. In that moment, they see it, hear it, feel it…………………..It’s comforting to know, that when you walk out those doors to go home, your husband is being well taken care of. Take care:)

  4. Judy says:

    In all the posts you’ve ever written about the nursing home, you’ve gushed with appreciation. It sounds like Anthony is well cared for. But I know it still isn’t easy and being separated from the love of your life; it is beyond difficult. I’m always thinking of you, Julie.
    You are amazing in how you are so thankful and appreciative, while at the same time dealing with your own unspeakable grief.

  5. It is a tough environment to live and work in especially with shortage of funding. The staff are only human.Taking time for the gesture of comfort , saying a word or two or listening-all of these are priceless gifts to the residents and their families.

  6. tootlepedal says:

    A comforting post for your readers. Thank you.

  7. ksbeth says:

    how lucky you are to have all of them )

  8. It has to be so comforting to know he is well cared for… Diane ❤ ❤

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